What Is A Roleplay Club?

Following on from yesterday’s post, my good friend Wolfchild showed up and generously provided a great list of local organisations (to Nottingham) which host gaming activities. Thanks for those! You can check them out at the bottom of that post.

This got me thinking. What’s a club?

I ask because the vast majority of the suggestions were, in fact, not so much clubs (as far as I know) but rather venues wherein games take place. For example, there are Gaming Cafes listed. Great stuff! But is a venue the same thing as a club?

There were also some actual clubs listed which, from what I already know, largely appear to be the kind of clubs where wargamers and collectible card gamers show up to play. While they may well have roleplayers, I am hesitant because my past experience tells me that it’s quite hard to concentrate in a room or hall full of wargamers and CCG players – they are pretty loud.

So, what is a roleplaying club?

At school the D&D Club is a specific subculture of the gaming community. There is a separate Games Workshop wargaming club, for example, and there is also a separate CCG club. Some players go to more than one club (they are on different nights) but they are distinct entities. This is because roleplaying requires a different environment.

Ideally, each roleplaying table would have its own space – even its own room – so that there is the ability to firstly hear each other clearly but also to allow for a different type of game experience.

Roleplayers don’t necessarily want to “roll and shout”… well, at least those who are focused on the narrative or the gaming world/characters will be easily distracted by the gamers who want to loudly play right next door.

I am looking to provide a bespoke, specific environment for roleplay gaming. But it’s more than the environment.

For wargamers and CCG players the club offers varied opponents. But roleplayers don’t (usually) compete. We actually form generally stable groups. For this reason, for years and years, I have not played at a club because the club just costs me for travel and attendance subs and doesn’t offer me anything more than I can get by playing at home.

A roleplaying club has to provide community benefits bespoke to the needs of roleplayers.

Maybe this is an Open World with multiple GMs all playing in and contributing to a larger experience (I remember the Sarbreenar Campaign played across conventions back at the turn of the century). Perhaps it’s the chance to try different one-shot games with different players for a change of pace. But most likely the best offer for roleplayers would be the opportunity to find the Other People in your specific subculture and share your experiences and ideas.

All that to say, I think we roleplayers need to recognise that hanging out with wargamers and CCG enthusiasts isn’t going to cut it. We could imagine a club to be something more. I’m not exactly sure what that might look like (yet) but I am keen to work it out.

So, for now, I am going to work out what I might offer a new face-to-face group and then try to find a suitable place to deliver that experience. But I’m going to keep an eye on the opportunities to expand the scope and offer other GMs and players something more.

Just something to think about, I’d say.

Game on!

2 comments

  1. Good point well made.
    The closest thing I know to an RPG club in Notts isn’t actually a club at all.

    The Sanctuary gaming centre n shop in Kirkby-in-Ashfield is a venue that offers RPG n other gaming stock, food, drinks, gaming tables (all standard fayre for a successful gaming venue), but most importantly has a couple rooms at back specifically for RPGs so that can do their thing in their own sound bubbles, away from the hustle n bustle of war gamers n CCGers.

    I’m goin there tomorrow to play a board game w some friends, so I could ask they guys that run it if there’s a resident RPG club that could be developed further…
    but there’s only limited free parking in Kirkby and it’s not central for getting others in …
    so maybe a different venue could offer the segregated space(s) you’d prefer.
    Or at least a quiet night, designated for RPGs, with plenty of space between tables.

    Glad so see ur concept in a clearer light.
    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our local (statewide) Historical Miniatures Gaming Society sets aside dedicated rooms for non-tabletop miniatures wargaming. Usually have a big boardgame room and several smaller roleplaying rooms.

    Liked by 1 person

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